Continuous Infusion versus Intermittent Bolus Injection of Furosemide in Critically Ill Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Published:February 14, 2018DOI:


      Fluid overload is a common phenomenon seen in intensive care units (ICUs). However, there is no general consensus on whether continuous or bolus furosemide is safer or more effective in these hemodynamically unstable ICU patients. The aim of this meta-analysis was to examine the clinical outcomes of continuous versus bolus furosemide in a critically ill population in ICUs.

      Data Sources

      MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic reviews were searched from their inception until June 2017.

      Review Methods

      All randomized controlled trials, observational studies, and case-control studies were included. Case reports, case series, nonsystematic reviews, and studies that involved children were excluded.


      Nine studies (n = 464) were eligible in the data synthesis. Both continuous and bolus furosemide resulted in no difference in all-cause mortality (7 studies; n = 396; I2 = 0%; fixed-effect model [FEM]: odds ratio [OR] 1.15 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67-1.96]; p = 0.64). Continuous furosemide was associated with significant greater total urine output (n = 132; I2 = 70%; random-effect model: OR 811.19 [95% CI 99.84-1,522.53]; p = 0.03), but longer length of hospital stay (n = 290; I2 = 40%; FEM: OR 2.84 [95% CI 1.74-3.94]; p < 0.01) in comparison to the bolus group. No statistical significance was found in the changes of creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate between both groups.


      In this meta-analysis, continuous furosemide was associated with greater diuretic effect in total urine output as compared with bolus. Neither had any differences in mortality and changes of renal function tests. However, a large adequately powered randomized clinical trial is required to fill this knowledge gap.

      Key Words

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